13 Jun

Day 14

Did I mention this was a road trip? To me, road trips are all about the decaying, abandoned, roadside businesses, and the completely silly attempts to get tourist dollars. Today’s drive from Lake Arrowhead, CA to Las Vegas, NV epitomizes that. We passed Joshua Trees, abandoned buildings, Zzyxz Road, and the world’s Tallest Thermometer (sadly broken). We also stopped for Fresh Alien Jerky (in Baker, CA).

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It also appears we may have been in New York,

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In Rome, Italy,

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Or was it Venice?

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Or perhaps it was Paris, France…

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Or maybe just back in Hawaii,

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Really, we can’t say, because you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

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07 Jun

Day 8

Today was indeed, Aquarium Day. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is a very cool place. It’s not so big as to be overwhelming, but it’s got a lot to see. We were fascinated by all the sharks they have. They even had shark eggs that they had put windows into so you could see the baby sharks inside (no sharks harmed in the process and they grow and hatch as normal). Saw-fish feeding time was pretty cool too.

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The kids spent a looooong time petting the small bamboo sharks. We thought that was going to be THE thing. Then we took a break to have lunch with another of hubby’s college friends. It was great to see him and catch up. He said his favorite at the aquarium was the otters. So we checked them out after lunch. Cute. But then we went to the Lorikeet Forest.

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And that was IT. The best thing ever! The kids had so much fun feeding the birds and trying to get them to land on their arms. The birds are pretty cheeky too, so it was very entertaining.

Finally, we had to drag the kids away from the birds and pick up my mom at the airport. Since dinner needed to be part of the plan, and none of us had ever been there, we decided to go to the Encounter restaurant.

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It is every bit as space age, Star Trek TOS, acid trip as you might expect from the web site and the exterior. Surprise, surprise, the food is pretty good (though pricey). I’ve heard they make a mean martini and if I wasn’t the designated driver I would have had one as the setting seems perfect. Perhaps on my next flight out of LAX.

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PS, if aliens were to actually come out of that space ship restaurant, maybe they’d have tentacly fingers, like this:

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06 Jun

Day 7

The plan today was to go to Pasadena, but we never quite got there.

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I suggested that we take a hike in Griffith park, so we did that first. We went from Fern Dell up to the Observatory, just like we sometimes did when I was a kid.

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The observatory was a hit, as was seeing the Hollywood sign over and over again.

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One of the observatory docents asked why was there a tesla coil there if it has nothing to do with astronomy. The answer: because it’s cool!

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Geeks that we are, we kept checking in to Facebook and one of hubby’s friends keeps suggesting good local restaurants wherever we go. Pink’s was on the list, so we diverted away from Pasadena and into Hollywood because, well, Pink’s is iconic LA, and it’s kid friendly.

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Passing Hollywood and Vine on the way to lunch inspired the girl to want to see the stars, so we did. We walked to Grauman’s Chinese theater and checked put as many stars and hand and footprints as we could stand. The boy thought the Star Wars robots’ prints were OK.

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We ended the day driving past the house of my teen years and then meeting some friends from former lives for dinner. It was great to talk story and I’m only sorry that a few more didn’t make it. We stepped into the nearby furniture store for better lighting for our photo! All in all a good day. Tomorrow’s plan is the aquarium. I wonder where we’ll end up.

05 Jun

Day 6

I think today lasted a whole week. Our hotel room was right next to the elevator shaft and we could hear it’s rolling and grinding all night. Not much sleep.

But then we went to pick up my car that the Army had shipped for us from Hawaii. The processing center is in Compton, and our hotel was in Ingelwood, so I’ve been singing like Snoop Dogg all day. Having our car improved the day a bit.

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Then we changed hotels. And we got Carne asada tacos on the way there. With jamaica to drink. Now things were really improving.

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The next hotel, though far away, is a huge improvement. Later in the afternoon we met a college friend of my man’s and wandered around Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor. With restaurants, a nice park, a marina, and views to the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose, it was a very nice way to end the day.

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It was a good day after all.

10 Dec

Recipe Search

I know this is a little late, but maybe it will help for next year. I am on a quest to find a recipe (in English or German) for THESE Lebkuchen:

I am pretty sure they are Odenwälder Lebkuchen. They are breadier than the stuff used for gingerbread houses and iced hearts, and they are not as nutty/lumpy as Nürnburger Lebkuchen (which are baked on a wafer and iced with sugar or chocolate. So, NO lebkuchen like this:

Which is, of course, the problem. All the recipes I’ve found seem to be for the sticky Nürnburger style with candied citrus inside, or for the shaped and iced American gingerbread. There is a possibility that the ones I’m looking for are the same as, or similar to, Aachener Printen. Perhaps I have a german reader who can set me straight…  or send me a recipe…

29 Oct

Purple!

I would love to be a locavore and support small farmers, crop diversity, organic everything, and most of all, eat well. I’m too lazy though. I just can’t bring myself to learn to cook so many new foods here, and I certainly can’t bring myself to drive all over the island (as small as it is) to procure the ingredients. Recently, Kanu Hawai’i sponsored an eat local challenge. I didn’t do it, knowing I’d fail, but I did embrace their idea to start small and include one locally grown food a day. THAT I can do!

In fact, I have been doing that for quite a while. We love the green beans grown in nearby Ewa, and Big Island Honey is yummy. Much of the time, my breakfast is a local papaya (with off island cottage cheese and granola though).

One of the foods I’ve been playing with is Okinawan sweet potatoes. Kinda ugly on the outside, they are purple on the inside! I first experienced them mashed with garlic at Orchids in the Halekulani. With roast chicken, it was delicious.

At home, I’ve tried to recreate the garlic mashed version:

(The kids, not loving regular mashed potatoes, tolerated these. Purple in and of itself doesn’t carry as much weight as I had hoped.)

Then I moved on to Twice Baked potatoes (with cinnamon):

OK, but not really worth the effort.

And tonight I tried the much raved about Sweet Potato Biscuits. Surprise! — my lavender-grey colored biscuits turned green while waiting to be baked! I had heard that lemon juice will turn these purple potatoes magenta, so I’m guessing it’s the baking powder in the dough that turns them green. Baked up, they are grass green with little confetti flecks of purple. Party food!

Green biscuits (no food coloring)

Just for fun, I poured a little vinegar on my biscuit and, sure enough, it turned pinky purple. Move over  pH paper or red cabbage juice, let’s play science experiment with foods you actually want to eat!

Green and pink biscuits (no food coloring)

14 Oct

Every Day is a Holiday

First, check out our current house guest:

His name is Happy and we’re watching him while his family is on vacation.

We are vacationing closer to home.

Dad’s home and, having grown up in California watching surf movies, the first thing he wanted to do was see the famed North Shore of Oahu. We went to Sunset Beach, and yes, the waves were really big — much bigger than when the kids and I were at Pupukea a month ago. I’m hoping we can go back in another month or two and see really, really big waves. No swimming though — they were big AND total shore breakers. So, after soaking up the fact that we are in Hawai’i, we went down the road to the historic town of Haleiwa and lay out towels under a palm tree in the shelter of Haleiwa Harbor. The beach here was pretty quiet because everyone else was riding the waves out on the point. Apparently the waves were gnarly today. Word was that they were better formed yesterday.

Since we were on the North Shore we HAD to introduce daddy to shave ice. Not for us, of course — for him, and science.

Today we tried Aoki‘s next door to Matsumoto’s. I think I like their shave ice better, but I’m not sure. The ice cream on the bottom wasn’t great, but the ice was fine and silky and the flavors were distinct. They didn’t have the “snow cap” topping which I wanted to try. Actually, I think the lady in front of Lowe’s at the shopping center a few miles from us has the best ice cream, and the largest shave ice for your money. Her syrups all taste the same though. In researching shave ice I came across references to Waiola, which is supposed to be great, so it looks like we have one more reason to go into Honolulu (for scientific comparison of course).

15 Sep

Sunday

We hadn’t been to the beach in a few weekends, so we went to Pupukea Beach this morning to explore the tidepools.

The tide pools were OK, the rock clambering was great, and I just like saying “poo-poo-kay-ah.” Zavi impressed us with his knowledge of the various volcanic rocks. A’a is the really rough stuff (you can remember that because you’d probably say “ah, ah” or worse if you walked on it barefoot). The smoother rock is pahoehoe (pah-ho-ay-ho-ay?) which he likes much better.

Then, because we were on the North Shore, we went to Matsumoto’s (home of the original Shave Ice).

I went for Green Tea flavor this time (very refreshing).

And because commenter Sally M said I should, I went for the adzuki beans this time. I have to admit, the beans didn’t do much for me. They are nice and sweet, but still beany — which is weird with ice and ice cream. I am now on a mission to become a Shave Ice connoisseur. Our next quest will be to find the Dave’s closest to us and try the Shave Ice with Mochi balls. Zavi says he wants to try a bubble drink (so much so that he’s willing to go to the laundromat with me).

Next to Matsumoto’s is a cute little gift and housewares shop. I went in looking for plastic tumblers with 40s-style travel poster images or old C&H Sugar ads on them for a bit of retro Hawai’i kitsch on my lanai. They didn’t have any, but they did have a gorgeous book, Lei Aloha, that we came away with.

Which, of course, led to trying one of leis since we had the right plant in our yard.

Not bad for a first try!

I hope you had a nice Sunday too.